The Internet pioneer and father of postminimalism has lost his battle with cancer.

American composer-pianist William Duckworth has died at the age of 69, after he ceased chemotherapy treatment for pancreatic cancer. The news was reported by his close friend, fellow composer Kyle Gann, who described him in a heartfelt tribute as a “quietly upbeat character, a Buddhist with a cynical but philosophical approach to life”.

Born in North Carolina in 1943, Duckworth studied composition under composer Ben Johnston and wrote his PhD on notation in the music of John Cage. Of his 200 or so compositions, the most famous is the hypnotic  Time Curve Preludesfor piano (1977–78), widely considered the first example of postminimalism. In later years he became more interested in electroacoustic music.

He was also one of the first composers to embrace the Internet in his work, launching a website piece called Cathedralin 1997. The  project depicted through music “five mystical moments in time”: the building of the Great Pyramid in Giza, the building of Chartres Cathedral, the 19th-century Native American Ghost Dance movement, the detonation of the atomic bomb and the creation of the World Wide Web. The site is also host...